Chandigarh, January 30
Hours after the BJP candidate emerged victorious in the UT mayoral polls, elected AAP councillor Kuldeep Kumar moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court to set aside the election process, describing it as a "result of complete fraud and forgery laid upon the democratic process".
Directions were also sought to hold the election process afresh in a free and fair manner, in accordance with the rules and regulations, under the supervision of a retired high court Judge to prevent "malpractice".
Kumar also sought an investigation by an independent agency, such as a special investigation team headed by UT Senior Superintendent of Police, into the "entire fraud committed during the election process".
Directions were also sought for the Union Territory of Chandigarh and other respondents to "seal, preserve and present before the High Court the entire process of the election held on January 30, including the record of ballot papers, proceedings of the election process, and videography done under the court".
Kumar also prayed for a direction to restrain respondent Manoj Kumar Sonkar from discharging the mayor's functions. The petition filed through counsel RPS Bara, KS Kharbanda, and Ferry Sofat will come up for hearing on Wednesday. Senior advocate Gurminder Singh is expected to argue on the petitioner's behalf.
Giving details of the events unfolding earlier during the day, the petitioner contended that the problem started when the presiding officer ordered Municipal Corporation officials to empty the ballot box into a tray kept on the table before asking everyone to step aside. He then announced in the house that he was going to start the counting of votes, following which the Congress and AAP councillors immediately raised the issue that a nominee of each party contesting the election from the elected councillors had to participate, along with the presiding officer, to monitor the position of the votes cast in accordance with the rules and precedents.
He said the elected councillors, along with the presiding officer, were required to scrutinise each and every vote for marks or otherwise, which could result in declaring a vote ineligible for counting. It was only after the completion of the process that the votes were segregated as valid and invalid. But the presiding officer, in the most flimsy manner, told the House that he did not want any assistance from the members nominated by the parties contesting the election and would count the votes himself. Surprisingly, the deputy commissioner remained mum. The joint commissioner or Municipal Corporation Secretary for the purpose of holding the election also did not object, it was said.
The petitioner added that three baskets were placed before the presiding officer –– one for the AAP candidates and the other for BJP. The third was for invalid votes. The petitioner said the videography made it clear that the presiding officer shuffled the votes from one basket to another to create confusion, during which "he completely compromised the election process by forgery and tampering".
"He behaved in such an arrogant manner that after shuffling these votes, he behaved in a suspicious manner and was evidently tampering with the votes polled, which can be easily viewed in the videography duly ordered by the High Court," it was added.
The petitioner added that presiding officer Anil Masih's act was nothing but a murder of democracy and the democratic system for election. "Further, this act is not only illegal but is also contemptuous as the directions given by this with regard to free and fair election and with regard to videography of the election process were violated by the respondents."
Most Read In 24 Hours
Don't MissView All
Himachal Pradesh political crisis LIVE: 6 disgruntled Himachal Congress MLAs appear before Speaker, argue not given annexure
Earlier, the Vidhan Sabha was adjourned sine die after passi...
Crisis in Himachal Pradesh Congress deepens; minister Vikramaditya breaks down, announces resignation from Cabinet
Vikramaditya says 'election in Himachal was fought under Pra...
‘Neither the high command has asked me nor anyone else for r...
'Game changer' BJP will soon form government in Himachal Pradesh, more Congress MLAs in touch with us: Harsh Mahajan
Says Congress is 'not going to last too long' in Himachal Pr...
Himachal Pradesh crisis: Congress says all options open, Kharge asks observers to submit report soon
Kharge asks observers to meet Congress MLAs, submit report o...